Destiny developer Bungie has explained how its online shooter’s server tech works in a new interview.
It follows word that Destiny began life as a third-person shooter. Fancy that.
Speaking with GameInformer, Bungie technical director Chris Butcher said of Destiny’s matchmaking, “You have all of these examples of people who are doing big server cluster things like World of Warcraft or something like that.
“But we didn’t really want to do that, because if you think about those kinds of games, you’ve got a centralized server that’s simulating everything in the world, but that can only scale up to some number of players. Maybe it’s 1,000. Maybe it’s 5,000. Maybe it’s 20,000. You compare that to the population of a console game and it’s tiny.
“So what that means is that you have to have dozens or hundreds of these separate servers. So what that means is that you have to have dozens or hundreds of these separate servers. So we started out by thinking, ‘We want to have a single world that everybody can be in.’”
Butcher added that Bungie looked at, “mesh-based networking” as a solution, which means there won’t be any areas of the game left feeling under-populated, due to everyone being in the same server.
Discussing the benefits of mesh-based networking, Butcher continued, “when you do a simulation that runs on a single server on a big mainframe type thing, there are two problems that you get. One problem is all of the 5,000 people on your server nobody is playing in Old Russia at the moment so it’s just empty when you go there. Or the other problem is all 5,000 people logged in and tried to go to the same place at the same time and the server crashes or it gets so full up that it’s totally lagged out. And if it does get full then there are some of those games that will start having different instances, but typically they don’t handle that very well because it’s not a core part of the game design.
“For us we’ve kind of said we want this game world to be able to work with millions of players online at once. And that means playing to the strengths of the consoles. Being able to use these very powerful machines to run a lot of the simulation. Being able to use the servers in a seamless fashion so that as you’re moving from place to place you’re switching networks with all of the different people that are around you. You’ve got a very high quality fast action gameplay experience. If you have all of these calculations taking place in a central server that’s one place in the world you can’t really have a fast action experience.”
There’s more technical speak and matchmaking information through the link above, but for now, what do you think of Bungie’s one-server approach?
Destiny will hit PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, September 9.